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03/28/2012

Model United Nations Turns its Focus to the Middle East March 28-30

Quick Facts

 Jennifer Collins-Foley will address the conference theme “Arab League: Weighing in on Democratic World Issues” at the 7 p.m. event in Tillman Auditorium.
 High school students from nearly 30 North and South Carolina and Georgia schools will attend the March 28-30 conference on the Winthrop University campus.

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Jennifer Collins-Foley 
ROCK HILL, S.C. - A Middle East activist will speak on the Arab Spring at the opening address of the 36th annual Model United Nations conference on March 28.

Jennifer Collins-Foley will address the conference theme “Arab League: Weighing in on Democratic World Issues” at the 7 p.m. event in Tillman Auditorium. High school students from nearly 30 North and South Carolina and Georgia schools will attend the March 28-30 conference on the Winthrop University campus. They will represent 60+ countries during committee meetings and general session debates.

Collins-Foley is a democracy, governance and gender specialist with 22 years of experience in the U.S. and around the world. She currently serves as senior practitioner faculty with the World Learning/SIT Graduate Institute’s Master’s in International Sustainable Development in Washington, D.C., where she teaches “Issues in Sustainable Development” and “Gender and Human Rights.”

She said the full story of the Arab Spring has not yet been written and many challenges still lie ahead. “In Tunisia, Egypt and Libya where authoritarian regimes have been ousted, the hard work of building accountable, democratic institutions, ensuring free, fair and transparent elections, preserving human rights and promoting economic development has only just begun,” said Collins-Foley, who is a senior advisor for women’s political empowerment with the Cairo-based Karama Arab Women’s Regional Network.

She will talk about the importance of the international community’s role in helping just and representative democracies emerge from the Arab Spring and helping women across the region will be crucial in this regard. “Time and again, we in the democracy assistance and development communities have seen that empowering women leads to stronger, more stable, just and prosperous societies,” she said.

The first Model U.N. was held on campus under the direction of Melford Wilson, professor of political science, and Alan Rash, the first Student Coordinator. Since then more than 2,000 Winthrop students and 10,000 high school students have participated in these conferences.

The Winthrop Model U.N. is unique in several ways. It was the first program of its kind to combine participation of college students and high school students. The Winthrop students, who enroll in the United Nations course, are each assigned a country. Throughout the spring semester, the students study and debate issues commonly discussed in the assemblies of the United Nations.

During conference, these students act as delegates to the nation they represent, debating a resolution on Wednesday night and assisting the high school delegates of the same nation as they debate resolutions in committees and plenary sessions throughout the conference.

This year’ s Secretariat is under the student leadership of Helen Layton, coordinating general; Chris Addison, secretary general; and Eric Bostic, director general.
For more information please contact Chris Van Aller, Model U.N. faculty advisor, at 803/323-4667 or e-mail vanallerc@winthrop.edu.

Here is the schedule:

March 28: Afternoon registration for high school participants. Keynote speaker Jennifer Collins-Foley, a Middle East activist, will speak at 7 p.m. in Tillman Auditorium. Following the keynote address, the first session of General Assembly will be called to order, and the conference will have officially begun.

March 29: High school students will spend the day in committee sessions debating resolutions that have been previously been submitted to the Secretary-General and the two Student Coordinators.

Collins-Foley will discuss the role of young people in the revolutions in the Middle East in the spring 2011 Arab Spring. Her lecture is at 11 a.m. G02 Owens Hall.

March 30: This is the second day of committee sessions. The General Assembly also meets twice this day, once as a full delegation minus the current Security Council. The afternoon session of General Assembly will be attended by all delegations, including both Security Councils. Following the closing session awards will be handed out to delegations, delegates and schools.

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